Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Doll Collector: Xorn (2007)

Not shown: the giant "Blob" leg... you're not missing much.
It's not often you read about Buddhist, political prisoners who happen to find themselves on mainstream American super-hero teams. But Xorn was not a common "superhero," nor was he really Xorn...

I am glad to say I was with Xorn from the beginning; or since his introduction by comic-god Grant Morrison's during his acclaimed X-men comics run in the early part of last decade. Despite being part of one of the oddest comic continuity confusions in recent memory (SPOILER ALERT: Xorn was eventually revealed to be Magneto, but not the real Magneto, rather Xorn disguised as Magneto who was in fact really a brainwashed Xorn), the character reached a fairly high level of popularity. Eventually most of the interesting stuff written by Morrison (Buddhist-cum-fascist-mass-murderer Magneto, dead Magneto, actually any inclusion of the "real" Magneto at all) was quickly ret-conned out of Marvel 616 comic continuity.

SPOILER: A true "kick-in-the-stones"
comic book moment...
I picked this action figure up at Target, primarily because of his interesting character design, my appreciation of the X-Men books in which he appeared and his unique character traits. Xorn was a political prisoner, pacifist and practicing Buddhist--three traits you definitely did not see as part of a character in such a mainstream comic book as X-Men. This is cool enough without even going into the plot point that he was, in effect, the Xavier Academy's special education teacher... Of course, my fandom did not preclude his being stashed away in my box of collectibles (translation: "toys') in the attic until his recent (short lived) parole.

Xorn must have been more popular than many thought as someone felt it a good business decision to include him as part of the Hasbro Marvel Legends Series Wave 2 (2007)  that also presented variant iterations of such iconic characters as the Juggernaut (X3 movie), Thor ("realistic" Norse God costume) and Wolverine (Ultimate Comics Universe). The series also had a "Build-A-Figure" feature which means that the packaging of each of the eight action figures in the series contained a different part of a larger figure, in this case, X-Men villain The Blob.

Of course, like all comic book deaths, Xorn's death as a conceptualized character didn't last long. A negative byproduct of his popularity was the attempt by writer Chuck Austen and others, against creator Morrison's wishes, to bring back a "real" Xorn; an idea that was used to better effect eventually in the alternate-universe Ultimate series of comics. Some things, even especially in the comic book world, are better left alone (such as Xorn's demise), so as to live on in the adventures fan's imagination... and action figures, of course.

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